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"Red Pill" by Hari Kunzru has won the play in round for the 2021 Tournament of Books defeating "The Resisters" by Gish Jen and "The Down Days" by Ilze Hugo.

The judge for the round was Gabino Iglesias. Gabino says that all three books were great and it was a difficult decision. Unfortunately I did not get around to reading any of them, but they all sound interesting.

Gabino Iglesias (Twitter) is a writer, literary critic, editor, and professor living in Austin. He is the author of Zero Saints and Coyote Songs. His work has been translated into five languages, optioned for film, nominated to the Stoker and Locus Awards, and won the Wonderland Book Award for Best Novel. His reviews appear in places like NPR, Publishers Weekly, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and other venues. He teaches creative writing and SNHU and offers low-cost online writing workshops. Known connections to this year’s contenders: “I reviewed Luster for NPR.”

Here is the synopsis for "Red Pill" which now goes on to battle "The Vanishing Half" by Brit Bennet which I have read and enjoyed immensely.

From the widely acclaimed author of White Tears, a bold new novel about searching for order in a world that frames madness as truth.

After receiving a prestigious writing fellowship in Germany, the narrator of Red Pill arrives in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee and struggles to accomplish anything at all. Instead of working on the book he has proposed to write, he takes long walks and binge-watches Blue Lives--a violent cop show that becomes weirdly compelling in its bleak, Darwinian view of life--and soon begins to wonder if his writing has any value at all.

Wannsee is a place full of ghosts: Across the lake, the narrator can see the villa where the Nazis planned the Final Solution, and in his walks he passes the grave of the Romantic writer Heinrich von Kleist, who killed himself after deciding that "no happiness was possible here on earth." When some friends drag him to a party where he meets Anton, the creator of Blue Lives, the narrator begins to believe that the two of them are involved in a cosmic battle, and that Anton is "red-pilling" his viewers--turning them toward an ugly, alt-rightish worldview--ultimately forcing the narrator to wonder if he is losing his mind.

I was a huge fan of "White Tears" and have a signed first edition in my collection. Click the book to have a look.

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